[May 13, 2019] There’s an old axiom that says that soldiers are terrified of war because they are the ones who experience the brunt of the battle. The idea that soldiers are terrified of war, for this reason, is not true. Soldiers fear war because they are scared of letting their buddies down. They are terrified to fail those who depend upon them to do the right thing in combat.
“There are two levers for moving men: interest and fear.” – Napoléon Bonaparte, Emperor of France
Yesterday I wrote an article with ‘motivation’ as the theme.1 Being terrified to fail is an example of those things in life that push us toward a goal. Like most successful people, they have identified something in their lives that they fear; greatly fear. Their fear could be losing their family, getting fired from a job, or being getting an incurable disease.
Being terrified – despite being a vague and misused term – means extreme fear. Fear taken to a high level is to be terrified. We all fear many things and rightly so. That doesn’t mean we are terrified. To lose one’s job will generate fear. To lose one’s family will produce terror.
When a person is terrified to fail, the extreme motivation it creates is hard to describe. It should come as no surprise that the most successful leaders are terrified to fail. Their motivation to succeed overwhelms anything else in their lives. It is the center of their being. It is that which pushes them beyond what a normal person has ever experienced.
A soldier who lets his buddies down in combat believes he will get them injured or killed. This is real terror. I’ve seen combat soldiers go crazy under stress; not of getting themselves killed but getting their buddies killed. They will tell you that they don’t have to like their buddies, but the expectation that they are fully responsible for the lives of their comrades is ingrained so deeply in the psyche; nothing can dislodge it.
Being terrified to fail has its usefulness. However, leaders who attempt to instill this in their subordinates are acting unethically. Terror in the hearts of men is like putting a match to dynamite. The results can be unpredictable and tragic.
- Motivation: Shoveling Sh** in Louisiana https://www.theleadermaker.com/motivation-shoveling-sh-in-louisiana/